SAN DIEGO -- News that Palomar Mountain State Park is on a list of 70 locations around California slated for closure because of budget cuts has local businesses preparing for the worst.
The park could be shut down in July 2012, according to state parks officials. For Francisco Valdovinos, the news is disturbing.
"We're sad because a lot of people do come to Palomar to enjoy the campgrounds, and go hiking," he said.
Valdovinos, general manager of the Palomar Mountain General Store and Mother's Kitchen Restaurant, said business will drop if the closure goes through.
"In terms of ourselves, we don't know what we're going to do. I'm not sure. It could impact us 20 to 30 percent on our business perhaps," said Valdovinos. "Hopefully we'll weather this. We'll have to adjust to it."
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park east of Escondido is the only other park in San Diego County on the closure list. It commemorates the bloody 1846 clash in the Mexican-American War between the forces of generals Stephen Kearny and Andres Pico.
State officials said they tried to preserve the most historical and culturally significant parks, but they were required to cut back to save $11 million in the next fiscal year, and $22 million the year after.
"When the governor first proposed the cut to state parks, we warned that the closures would be devastating, and clearly they will be,'' said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation. "At a time when local communities are struggling to be part of the state's recovery, this proposal shuts the door to a vital part of our economy. Closing these parks is going in the wrong direction.''
Goldstein said the number of closures represents one-quarter of the state parks system.
The list includes the largest park in Northern California, Henry W. Coe State Park southeast of San Jose; the historic home of author Jack London in Sonoma County; and several that feature the state's iconic redwood trees.